If you’re looking for a potential breakout player among Mississippians in the majors for 2019, keep an eye on Dakota Hudson in St. Louis. The 6-foot-5 right-hander out of Mississippi State, who posted a 2.63 ERA for the Cardinals in 26 relief appearances last summer, could be poised for a bigger role this coming season. Though he isn’t currently listed in the rotation depth chart, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him earn a spot there. Recently named the Cardinals’ minor league pitcher of the year, Hudson was 13-3 with a 2.50 ERA in 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis. He was also the Pacific Coast League’s pitcher of the year and an All-Star Futures Game participant. He was the Double-A Texas League pitcher of the year in 2017. “He’s got a great attitude with how he approaches the game and he’s got confidence in his stuff because he’s had some success,” Memphis manager Stubby Clapp told milb.com. “When you add those two things together, anything good can happen.” Hudson blossomed as a junior in Starkville, going 9-5, 2.55 in 17 starts in 2016. St. Louis picked him with the 34th overall selection that summer, and he has zoomed up the ladder. Hudson doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts but does get ground balls with a hard sinker. He allowed just one home run all of 2018, none with the Cardinals. If Hudson were a stock, you’d buy it.
Meanwhile, back in St. Louis, there’s Mike Mayers, picking up a win for the Cardinals, the beneficiary of a five-run ninth inning capped by Yairo Munoz’s walk-off homer that beat Pittsburgh 10-8 on Thursday night. Former Ole Miss star Mayers is 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in 11 relief appearances for the Cards. Funny thing is, those 11 appearances are spread over six different stints with St. Louis. Mayers, who first made the big leagues in 2016, still has options. What that means is, the Cardinals can option him to the minors this season as many times as they see fit. They have seen fit to do so five times. And it’s only June. Mayers was sent to Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday, joining the Redbirds in New Orleans, then was recalled on Thursday as an injury replacement and flew back to St. Louis. He entered Thursday’s game in the eighth, got the final out in that inning and worked a 1-2-3 ninth. The rally that followed may have seemed a bit like déjà vu for Mayers. His other win, on May 6, also came via a walk-off homer. After a strong winter league showing and a good spring, Mayers began the 2018 season on the Cardinals’ 25-man roster. On April 9, he was optioned to Memphis for the first time, and the shuttle run began. “If anything,” Mayers told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Thursday’s game, “this season has taught us that baseball is crazy.”
Dakota Hudson is taking the next step toward the big leagues. The Mississippi State product and St. Louis prospect has been promoted from Double-A Springfield to Triple-A Memphis, according to several reports. Hudson, a first-round pick in 2016, was 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA at Springfield and started the Texas League All-Star Game in late June. “This kid is a winner, a Cardinals-type player,” his Springfield manager, Johnny Rodriguez, told ozarksportszone.com. Baseball America and MLB Pipeline rank the 6-foot-5 right-hander as the No. 9 prospect in the Cardinals’ system. St. Louis brass are “excited about the potential four-pitch mix Hudson has at his disposal,” the MLB Pipeline scouting report says. The hard-throwing Hudson has enhanced his curveball this season. … The Redbirds are at home tonight against Salt Lake, completing a suspended game and then playing the regularly scheduled game at AutoZone Park.